Due to the horrific mass shooting in Oregon, which brings us to number 294 (though we are only 274 days into this year) I am dedicating the entirety of this week’s internet round up to gun violence and my fervent hope for positive, life saving change on that front.
Sadly, the shooting at a community college in Oregon was not the only horrific shooting this week. Hell, it wasn’t the only horrific shooting I saw in the news on THAT SAME DAY. I can only hope that at this point in America, we are frustrated, scared and full of empathy for the quickly growing number of families impacted by gun violence to actually, you know, change something for the better. I know a lot of people like to say that because nothing happened after Sandy Hook, nothing is going to happen, but I don’t believe that. I think Sandy Hook was so unusual, so insanely terrible that, in a way, it was almost easier to imagine that that was a one time event, a thing that no one else would be capable of repeating. But as mass shootings continue to happen, particularly in schools, at a pace that has to disturb everyone except the most incredibly tone deaf monsters, I think it’s become clear that it’s not going to stop on its own. We actually have to do something.
Now there’s no silver bullet (pardon the pun) that everyone in America is going to agree on, and I think we have to acknowledge the fact that gun ownership isn’t going away completely, but I think there is plenty of middle ground for serious reform to make our schools and streets safer from mass shooters. (And to also attack the much more prevalent and deadly aspects of our gun problem, including domestic violence related murders and suicides. Almost none of these “ordinary” gun violence tragedies make national news, but they are the bulk of our staggering, sobering 32,000 gun violence deaths per year. )
First and foremost, let’s not remember the shooter of this more recent mass murder, let’s remember the victims.
Let’s also celebrate this man who risked his life and was severely injured while charging at the gunman and trying to save lives.
The full text and video of President Obama’s reaction to the shooting, including the phrase that has resonated most with me, “our thoughts and prayers are not enough.” Damn right.
As far as reform ideas, Buzzfeed has an interesting article about what does work, as far as reducing gun violence.
Here’s a chart you must see, especially when you think about the intense, expensive and freedom restricting efforts we have put into terrorism prevention, as compared to something that is a much more real threat to our daily lives – gun violence.
This one is really important. It talks about how, in the face of our country’s refusal (or inability) to enact tougher gun laws, or come up with any other solutions to our gun violence problem, the mentally ill have unfairly become a scapegoat for mass shootings. Despite the fact that “…fewer than 5 percent of the 120,000 gun-related killings in the United States between 2001 and 2010 were perpetrated by people diagnosed with mental illness.”
I’ve posted this before, a heartbreaking photo series about the lingering impact of gun violence, but I feel like it’s something that we, as Americans, need to look at over and over again until something significant changes.
Do you want to do something to change things for the better and reduce the 32,000 gun related deaths in America? Me too! Contact your congressperson, your senator, the President, and all of the candidates running for President, and say that something has to change as far as gun control and gun violence, and it has to change NOW.
There is also a Coalition to Stop Gun Violence – I don’t personally know much about them at the moment, other than what I found in a cursory google search, but I will look into them more and see if they have any helpful ways to get further involved.
If anyone has any other ideas as far as working together to drastically reduce gun violence in America and fight for expanded gun control, feel free to let me know in the comments! In the meantime, everyone please have a wonderful and safe weekend!